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White Hot Stamper

Michael Jackson
Thriller

  (Item #: jacksthril_1907) 

Our Price: $499.99

  • These INCREDIBLE sides are guaranteed to make this by far the best sounding Thriller you have ever heard - Triple Plus (A+++) sound throughout - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The sound is HUGE - wide, deep, and open, with a solid bottom end and relentless rhythmic energy to spare
  • Billie Jean and Beat It sound out of this world, but that's not fair, since every track on this copy is good enough to blow your mind
  • 5 stars: "This was a record that had something for everybody, building on the basic blueprint of Off the Wall by adding harder funk, hard rock, softer ballads, and smoother soul — expanding the approach to have something for every audience."
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White Hot Stamper

Van Halen
1984

  (Item #: vanha1984_1906) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • A stunning copy of this hard rock classic with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Both sides are rockin' like crazy - lots of energy, impressive size and big-time presence
  • Tons of hits: Panama, Hot For Teacher, Jump, and you won't believe how good they sound on this copy
  • 5 stars: "It's the best showcase of Van Halen's instrumental prowess as a band... the best showcase for their songwriting, just their flat-out best album overall."
See all of our Van Halen albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Neil Young
Neil Young

  (Item #: youngneily_1907_1) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • This rare, original pressing of Neil Young's solo debut earned superb Double Plus (A++) sonic grades on both sides
  • One of Neil's toughest to find with top quality sound and audiophile playing surfaces - this copy has a few problems, but we expect the sound of the original will win you over - and the cover is truly exceptional as well
  • Only these early pressings with the first mix have the potential to sound as good as this one does - play The Loner to hear it finally ROCK
  • "...a flowing tributary from the over-all Springfield river of twangs, breathless vocals and slim yet stout instrumentation. Especially vivid is Young's sense of melancholy and the ingenious clusters of images he employs in his lyrics (printed in full)."
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White Hot Stamper

The Doobie Brothers
Toulouse Street

  (Item #: doobitoulo_1901_1906) 

Our Price: $249.99
Sale Price: $199.00 (You save $50.99 / 20%)


  • A killer original Green Label pressing with amazing Tubey Magical Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides
  • Two of our favorite engineers - Stephen Barncard & Donn Landee - worked their magic here, and they really knocked it out of the park
  • Back in the '70s I had no idea that any pressing could be this punchy in the bass, this dynamic in the choruses, yet still have smooth, sweet vocals (partly because I heard it on crap equipment at Pacific Stereo)
  • 4 stars: "...it all still sounds astonishingly bracing 30 years later; it's still a keeper, and one of the most inviting and alluring albums of its era."
See all of our Doobie Brothers albums in stock


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Nearly White Hot Stamper

The Doobie Bros.
Minute By Minute

  (Item #: doobiminut_1909) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • A superb pressing of Minute By Minute, with Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from top to bottom - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Open Your Eyes, What A Fool Believes, and the title track all sound wonderful here
  • An Audiophile Quality Pop Music Production as close to perfect as one can ask for, thanks to Ted Templeman and Donn Landee
  • 4 stars: "...this is where the "new" Doobie Brothers really make their debut, with a richly soulful sound throughout and emphasis on horns and Michael McDonald's piano more than on Patrick Simmons' or Jeff Baxter's guitars."
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Nearly White Hot Stamper

Van Halen
Van Halen

  (Item #: vanhavanha_1907) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • A killer copy of the band's debut album with superb nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The open, spacious soundstage, full-bodied tonality and Tubey Magic here are obvious for all to hear - huge, punchy, lively and rockin' throughout
  • One of the most powerful rock recordings of its day (if you get one that sounds like this)
  • 5 stars: "They sound vital, surprising, and ultimately fun -- and really revolutionary, because no other band rocked like this before Van Halen, and it's still a giddy thrill to hear them discover a new way to rock on this stellar, seminal debut."
See all of our Van Halen albums in stock


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Nearly White Hot Stamper

Van Morrison
Tupelo Honey

  (Item #: morritupel_1908_1) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • A stunning copy of this Green Label Tupelo Honey with nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on both sides, finishing right behind our recent shootout winner
  • Wild Night and the title track sound amazing - rich and full-bodied with lovely warmth and above all, the naturalness we associate with Warner Brothers recordings in the early '70s
  • 4 1/2 stars on Allmusic and featuring some of Stephen Barncard's best engineering - this is Analog Sound at its best
  • "Tupelo Honey is in one sense but another example of the artist making increased use of the album as the unit of communication as opposed to merely the song or the cut. Everything on it is perfectly integrated."
See all of our Van Morrison albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper (Quiet Vinyl)

Neil Young
Neil Young

  (Item #: youngneily_1901_1907) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • This vintage pressing of Neil Young's solo debut has superb Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first note to last
  • Surely one of Neil's toughest to find with top quality sonics, but here it is, sounding rich, warm and clear
  • Exceptionally quiet vinyl for any early Neil Young album, especially this one - it's rare to find one in audiophile playing condition
  • "...a flowing tributary from the over-all Springfield river of twangs, breathless vocals and slim yet stout instrumentation. Especially vivid is Young's sense of melancholy and the ingenious clusters of images he employs in his lyrics (printed in full)."
See all of our Neil Young albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Captain Beefheart
Clear Spot

  (Item #: captaclear_1905_1) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This outstanding pressing of Clear Spot boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • One of the better copies of Clear Spot to hit the site in recent years - no question about it, this is his Masterpiece!
  • Produced by Ted Templeman, Clear Spot is one of Beefheart's most accessible albums and, IMHO, his best
  • 4 stars: "The sound is great throughout, and the feeling is of the coolest bar-band in town, not to mention one that could eat all the patrons for breakfast if it felt like it."
See all of our Captain Beefheart albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Van Halen
Van Halen

  (Item #: vanhavanha_1906_1) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • This outstanding copy of the band's debut album boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Both sides here are smooth, rich and Tubey Magical, with soaring guitars and huge choruses that really get loud
  • One of the most powerful rock recordings of its day (if you get one that sounds like this)
  • 5 stars: "They sound vital, surprising, and ultimately fun -- and really revolutionary, because no other band rocked like this before Van Halen, and it's still a giddy thrill to hear them discover a new way to rock on this stellar, seminal debut."
See all of our Van Halen albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Michael Jackson
Thriller

  (Item #: jacksthril_1903_1) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • With excellent Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER throughout, this pressing will be very hard to beat - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The sound is huge - big, wide, deep, and open, with a punchy bottom end and rhythmic energy to spare
  • Billie Jean and Beat It sound out of this world, but that's not fair, since every track does
  • A Top 100 and 5 Stars on AMG: "This was a record that had something for everybody, building on the basic blueprint of Off the Wall by adding harder funk, hard rock, softer ballads, and smoother soul — expanding the approach to have something for every audience."
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Super Hot Stamper

Van Halen
Women And Children First

  (Item #: vanhawomen_1903_5_9) 

Our Price: $129.99
Sale Price: $99.00 (You save $30.99 / 24%)


  • An outstanding copy of the band's third release, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Full-bodied, smooth analog sound is the key to the best Van Halen pressings, and here both sides have it
  • One of our favorite engineers, Donn Landee, worked his magic here (together with Ted Templeman) and the results are superb
  • 4 1/2 stars: "After two pure party albums, the inevitable had to happen: it was time for Van Halen to mature, or at least get a little serious … This is the first Van Halen album to consist entirely of original material and there's some significant growth here to the writing..."
See all of our Van Halen albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Van Morrison
Saint Dominic’s Preview

  (Item #: morrisaint_1907) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • An outstanding copy of Van Morrison's sixth studio album, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from top to bottom
  • It's unusual (to say the least) to find copies of Moondance or Astral Weeks that sound anything like the better copies of Saint Dominic’s Preview (or His Band and Street Choir for that matter)
  • One of the best sounding Van Morrison recordings thanks to the superb engineering skills of Donn Landee at Wally Heider's
  • 5 Stars in Rolling Stone: it's "The coexistence of two styles on the same record turns out to be very refreshing; they complement each other by underscoring the remarkable versatility of Van's musical imagination... the best-produced, most ambitious Van Morrison record yet released."
See all of our Van Morrison albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Doobie Bros.
Minute By Minute

  (Item #: doobiminut_1905_1) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • This outstanding copy of the band's 1978 release boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
  • Open Your Eyes, What A Fool Believes, and the title track all sound wonderful here
  • This vintage pressing is well balanced, yet big and lively, with such wonderful clarity in the mids and highs as well as deep punchy bass and a big open and spacious soundfield
  • An Audiophile Quality Pop Music Production as close to perfect as one can ask for, thanks to Ted Templeman and Donn Landee
See all of our Doobie Brothers albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Doobie Brothers
Toulouse Street

  (Item #: doobitoulo_1904_1907) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • An original Green Label pressing with seriously good Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides, this copy is really rockin' - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Two of our favorite engineers - Stephen Barncard & Donn Landee - worked their magic here
  • Smooth sound, punchy in the bass, dynamic in the choruses, sweet vocals - this is The Better Records Sound
  • 4 stars: "...it all still sounds astonishingly bracing 30 years later; it's still a keeper, and one of the most inviting and alluring albums of its era."
See all of our Doobie Brothers albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Van Halen
5150

  (Item #: vanha5150_1907) 

Our Price: $119.99

  • Sammy Hagar's Van Halen debut finally arrives on the site with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Clean and clear and open are nice qualities to have, but lively and full are harder to come by on this record - this pressing has it all
  • "Van Hagar" hit the ground running with this new incarnation, including "Why Can't This Be Love," "Love Walks In" and "Dreams"
  • 4 stars: "... on 5150... they had the songs and the desire to party, so those good intentions and slow tunes don't slow the album down; they give it variety and help make the album a pretty impressive opening act for Van Halen Mach II."
See all of our Van Halen albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Van Halen
Diver Down

  (Item #: vanhadiver_1804_1907) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this copy of Van Halen's fifth studio album
  • Surprisingly big, lively, open, rich and present with real extension both up top and down low - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • This album put the band's hard-rocking spin on a number of covers, including "(Oh) Pretty Woman," "Dancing in the Street," and Where Have All The Good Times Gone!"
  • "...this is undoubtedly the work of a finely honed band who has only grown tighter and heavier since their debut... it's one of Van Halen's best records, one that's just pure joy to hear. Like the debut, it's a great showcase for all the group's strengths..." -- Allmusic
See all of our Van Halen albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Michael Jackson
Thriller

  (Item #: jacksthril_1909) 

Our Price: $89.99

  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) sonic grades on both sides, we guarantee this pressing will be very hard to beat
  • The sound is huge - big, wide, deep, and open, with a punchy bottom end and rhythmic energy to spare
  • Billie Jean and Beat It sound out of this world, but that's not fair, since most every track does
  • A Top 100 and 5 Stars on AMG: "This was a record that had something for everybody, building on the basic blueprint of Off the Wall by adding harder funk, hard rock, softer ballads, and smoother soul — expanding the approach to have something for every audience."
More Michael Jackson


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Super Hot Stamper

James Taylor
Gorilla

  (Item #: taylogoril_1806_1907) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • Two outstanding Double Plus (A++) sides, with excellent sound for one of James Taylor's best softer rock albums
  • Soulful JT at his best, an underappreciated album by our man and one that belongs in your collection
  • Mexico, How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) and I Was A Fool To Care are standouts - there are no weak tracks here
  • Rolling Stone notes, "With Gorilla, Taylor is well on his way to staking out new ground. What he's hit upon is the unlikely mating of his familiar low-keyed, acoustic guitar-dominated style with L.A. harmony rock and the sweet, sexy school of rhythm and blues."
See all of our James Taylor albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

The Doobie Brothers
The Captain and Me

  (Item #: doobicapta_1906_2) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • This oustanding copy of The Doobie Brothers' third album boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides
  • Natural Thing, China Grove and Long Train Runnin' all sound great - smooth, rich and full of energy
  • Credit Donn Landee with the full-bodied, rich, smooth, oh-so-analog sound of these good copies
  • 4 1/2 stars: "The Doobie Brothers' third long-player was the charm, their most substantial and consistent album to date, and one that rode the charts for a year."
See all of our Doobie Brothers albums in stock


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Captain Beefheart - Clear Spot

A Desert Island Disc

  (Item #: captaclear_2010) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame and the Captain's MASTERPIECE of bent rock.

Side one earned an A++ grade for its powerful energy and exceptional fullness and richness. When we flipped this copy over we were surprised to find that it was even BETTER, with all of the above qualities and more: the punchiest, tightest, most note-like bass; more presence in the vocals and guitars; and the most clarity sacrificing the tubey magical richness the best copies have to offer. Folks, this is without a doubt the best copy we have ever put on the site.

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Carly Simon - Another Passenger

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: simonanoth_2010) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

A TOP PRESSING of what we consider to be the best -- and best-sounding -- Carly Simon album! I’ve been telling people for years how amazing this album can sound, but we almost never hear it sound quite like this! Side one rates A++, side two rates A+++ and both sides play quietly. Most copies are gritty and edgy, but this one is smoother, sweeter and much more musical.

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Carly Simon - Another Passenger

What to Listen For

  (Item #: simonanoth_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of the album.

There's one quality in particular that added immensely to our enjoyment of the music -- gobs and gobs of Tubey Magic. The copies that were opaque, dry, flat and "modern" sounding -- which pretty much describes practically every Heavy Vinyl record we've played in the last five years -- bored us to tears, not surprisingly in the very same way that most Heavy Vinyl does.

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Compromised Versus Purist Recordings

If It's About the Music, the Choice Is Clear

  (Item #: doobicapta_vs_dd) 



A while back one of our good customers wrote to tell us how much he liked his Century Direct to Disc recording of the Glenn Miller big band, one of the few really amazing sounding direct discs that contains music actually worth listening to. Which brought me to the subject of Hot Stampers.

Hot Stamper pressings are almost always going to be studio multi-track recordings, not live Direct to Discs. They will invariably suffer many compromises compared to the purist approach of an audiophile label trying to eliminate sources of distortion in the pursuit of the highest fidelity.

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Doobie Brothers - Takin’ It to the Streets

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: doobitakin_2009) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

SUPERB SOUND on this A++ / A+++ White Hot Stamper -- who in his right mind thought this record could sound this good? Not us! We’ve been buying pressings for years with virtually nothing to show for it; that’s why you haven’t seen a Hot Stamper hit the site since 2007. The typical copy of this album has no real top or bottom; that’s what separates the men from the boys on Takin’ It to the Streets. That shrunken, flat, two-dimensional, lifeless, compressed, midrangy sound you’re so used to hearing on Doobies Brothers albums (to this day I still haven’t found a good Minute by Minute!) is the rule, and this pressing the exception.

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James Taylor - Gorilla

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: taylogoril_2011) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame.

This White Hot Stamper copy has TWO AMAZING sides back to back, with a side two that is so off the charts we seriously considered giving it Four Pluses. The Four Plus copies have to meet a standard higher than our regular top grade, and we define that standard as "better than we ever imagined any copy could ever sound." The Triple Plus side here is doing what it should -- it's correct from top to bottom, full of energy, transparent, and musical. It's exactly what you want it to sound like in every possible way.

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Little Feat - Time Loves A Hero

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: littltimel_2015) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

On the better copies the title track has Demonstration Quality Sound - the soundstage is huge and the multi-tracked vocal parts are energetic, clear and free from congestion and distortion. If your copy doesn't blow your mind on this song, try one of ours.

The next track, Rocket in My Pocket, kicks off with a big, fat drum sound that's present and punchy on the better copies. The album finishes with the controversial jazz-rock fusion of Day at the Dog Races, a song the band used to open their live act with in order to get in the groove. If the band wants to stretch out a bit, we don't have a problem with it.

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Little Feat - Time Loves A Hero

Nautilus Debunked

  (Item #: littltimel_nautilus) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing. After playing a killer Hot Stamper pressing of the album a few years back we wrote the following:

If you own the Nautilus Half-Speed, a record we actually liked years ago even when we had long since forsworn those kinds of pressings, you are really in for a treat. THIS is what the band sounds like in the REAL world, not the phony audiophile world that so many seem to get stuck in.

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Lowell George - Thanks I’ll Eat It Here

Listening in Depth

  (Item #: georgthank_listen) 



Presenting another entry in our extensive Listening in Depth series with advice on what to listen for as you critically evaluate your copy of Thanks I’ll Eat It Here.

"Lowell's style is so distinctive and his performances so soulful, it's hard not to like this record if you've ever had a fondness for Little Feat. After all, it's earthier and more satisfying than any Feat album since Feats Don't Fail Me Now and it has the absolutely gorgeous "20 Million Things," the last great song George ever wrote."

See all of our Little Feat albums in stock


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Lowell George - Thanks I’ll Eat It Here

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: georgthank_2015) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This kind of recording quality was abandoned decades ago, but there was a time -- I'm old, I remember it -- when engineers actually tried to produce recordings with this kind of rich, sweet, thoroughly analog sound. 1979, the year of this album's release, is right at the tail end of it. Why do you think so much of our Hot Stamper output covers the decade that stretched from the late '60s to the late '70s? Only one reason -- that's where some of the best sound can be found. (It's a bit like Willie Sutton's famous answer to why he robbed banks: "because that's where the money is".)

See all of our Little Feat albums in stock


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Michael Jackson - Thriller

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: jacksthril_2010) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

A KILLER THRILLER, with an A+++ side one that's going to knock you out! That gives you TOP SHELF SOUND for songs including Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' and the title track, which are going to BLOW YOU AWAY! So many copies of Thriller out there just don't deliver, but this side one does almost everything right.

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Michael Jackson - Thriller

Thoughts on Thriller, Circa 2006

  (Item #: jacksthril_2006) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For as you critically evaluate your copy of the album.

This pressing has a side two that is so amazing sounding that it COMPLETELY CHANGED my understanding and appreciation of this album. The average copy is a nice pop record. This copy is a MASTERPIECE of production and engineering.

After playing a bunch of these we noticed some recurring shortcomings on most of the pressings. Either they lacked extension on the top end or they lacked bass definition and weight, or both. When this copy hit the table, the first thing we noticed was that the top end was Right On The Money and the bottom end was also Right On The Money. Not surprisingly, the middle fell right into place.

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Michael McDonald - If That's What It Takes

Great Sounding Soulful Pop

  (Item #: mcdoniftha_2016) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame.

For soulful pop it doesn’t get much better than a Hot Stamper pressing of Michael McDonald's first album. The bottom end has real weight, the top is extended and sweet, the vocals are breathy and present, and the energy is off the charts. Just listen to how rich and full-bodied the midrange is!

With the right pressing the highs open up and his vocals JUMP out of the speakers. He's RIGHT THERE.

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Randy Newman - Sail Away

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: newmasaila_2012) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Side one of this Original Reprise pressing has A+++ Master Tape Sound! It's open and spacious, with vocals that are tonally Right On The Money (ROTM).

We hear so many records that went off the rails somewhere in the recording, the mixing, the mastering, or the pressing, so it was a real treat to hear a record like this with absolutely no trace of heavy-handed fixing or phony EQ! What you hear on this record has got to be extremely close to what the guys in the control room heard as it was being recorded. This is no-frills, nothing-fancy, old-school analog, and we love it!

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The Doobie Brothers - Livin' On The Fault Line

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: doobilivin_2012) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

WHITE HOT STAMPERS for this overlooked and underrated Doobies album from 1977! Not a lot of hits but a lot of good Sophisticated Soulful Pop songs -- the first four tracks on side one are some of the best of the Michael McDonald era, with Nothin' But a Heartache and There's a Light on side two making six SUPERB tracks all told.

I'm not even sure you could make the case that Minute By Minute has six tracks of this quality, and I would still find these six superior even if you tried. The consistency may not be as high as MBM, but the high points reach higher, and go deeper emotionally. (Yes, I'm being completely serious.)

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The Doobie Brothers - Minute By Minute

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: doobiminut_2011) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This is undoubtedly the band's MASTERPIECE, assuming you're a Michael McDonald fan, and we very much are fans here at Better Records. With this Super Hot Stamper side two we can now definitively say that the quality of the sound matches the quality of the music. What a WONDERFUL sounding pop record. This is Donn Landee at his best -- tonally correct, spacious, clear and sweet, with vocal choruses that can really take off when called upon. With Ted Templeman running the show this is an Audiophile Quality Pop Music Production that's as close to perfect as one has any right to expect.

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The Doobie Brothers - Minute By Minute

Nautilus Debunked

  (Item #: doobiminut_debunk) 




Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Half Speed debunked.

You may remember reading on the site that we used to like the Nautilus Half-Speed of this title. Playing our Nautilus copy against the better domestic pressings made us wonder what the hell we must have been smoking. The Nautilus was awful -- veiled and compressed, with a lightweight bottom end. (The Nautilus of Threshold of a Dream is another one we used to like and boy does that record sound awful these days.)

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The Doobie Brothers - Stampede

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: doobistamp_2015) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

The average copy of this album is compressed and congested, recessed and veiled, grainy and thin; in other words, it sounds like an old Doobie Brothers album. It takes a copy like this to show you just how good the Master Tape must really be. Most copies don't even hint at the sound you will hear on this record. And if we hadn't had plenty of copies to play with, we would never have known, now would we?

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The Doobie Brothers - The Captain and Me

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: doobicapta_2009) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

OH BABY! This is the HOTTEST copy of The Captain And Me to ever hit the site, bar none. The sound is nothing short of PHENOMENAL from the first cut to the last. Side two earned our top A+++ grade while side one clocked in just half a plus behind. You can’t even begin to imagine what we’ve gone through trying to find Hot Stampers for this album. Here’s the copy that proves it was all worth it.

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The Doobie Brothers - The Captain and Me

Nautilus Debunked

  (Item #: doobicapta_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another Half-Speed Mastered Audiophile Pressing Debunked and another We Was Wrong listing to boot.

We actually recommended the Nautilus Half-Speed in the old days, but the last time we played one (mid-2007) the sound was Pure Audiophile BS -- compressed to death and totally whomp-free. The average domestic copy is terrible too, but that’s no excuse now is it? Not to worry. One of these days we will put some Hot Stampers on the site, and they will ROCK!

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The Doobie Brothers - Toulouse Street

Templeman, Barncard and Landee Work Their Magic

  (Item #: doobitoulo_wtlf) 



Two of our favorite engineers worked their magic on this one: STEPHEN BARNCARD and DONN LANDEE. This copy surely has all the Tubey Magic one could ask for, but it's the size, space and clarity here that really shocked us.
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The Doobie Brothers - What Were Once Vices...

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: doobiwhatw_2011) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This quiet Palm Tree Label pressing is one of the best sounding copies of this album we've ever played! We had a massive shootout for this fun album recently and this was the big winner, earning an A+++ grade for the first side and a strong A++ for the second. Drop the needle anywhere on side one; you won't believe how open, clear and dynamic the sound is. It's also big, present and spacious with unusually high resolution. No other side one we played came close. Black Water sounds KILLER here!

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The Doobie Brothers

The Vices of Limited Production

  (Item #: doobiwhatw_listen) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

The best of this kind of mainstream radio-friendly pop rock has stood the test of time very well. One listen and we think you'll agree: this is fun music that belongs in your collection. IF... IF you get hold of a good pressing, and in our experience this mass-produced stuff leaves a lot to be desired most of the time.

Actually that's not really fair; the specialty audiophile limited edition pressings of most records are even worse sounding, so the production numbers really don't have much to do with the final product, now do they?

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Van Halen - Van Halen

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: vanhavanha_2014) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame and another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

We recently took the time to shoot out a bunch of original pressings of Van Halen's debut. I'm sure it won't come as much of a surprise to most of you that the average copy is, well, quite average sounding. Not bad, just mediocre. Not rockin' all that hard and not all that much fun. You know the kind of record I'm talkin' about.

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Van Halen - Van Halen

What to Listen For

  (Item #: vanhavanha_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of Van Halen's debut album.

Most copies just do not have the kind of weight to the bottom and lower mids that this music needs to work. Put simply, if your Van Halen LP doesn't rock, then what exactly is the point of playing it?

The other qualities to look for on the best pressings are, firstly, space -- the best pressings are huge and three-dimensional, with large, lively, exceptionally dynamic choruses.

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Van Morrison - Saint Dominic’s Preview

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: morrisaint_2010) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

TWO AMAZING A+++ SIDES ON QUIET VINYL -- this will likely be the best sounding Van Morrison you hear in your entire life! We've played a ton of these over the years and it's not all that often that we hear a copy that so capably presents the music. Both sides are very rich and super full-bodied with exceptional clarity and mindblowing YOU ARE THERE immediacy. We almost never find copies of Moondance or Astral Weeks that sound anything like this, and when we do they go for much more money.

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Van Morrison - Tupelo Honey

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: morritupel_2009) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

YIKES! It’s the new ALL-TIME CHAMPION for Tupelo Honey, with MASTER TAPE SOUND and pretty darn quiet vinyl on BOTH SIDES! I’ll bet just about anything that you’ve never heard Van Morrison sound as good as he does here in your entire life. We played a massive stack of copies this week and felt incredibly lucky to find one that sounded like this. I just don’t think you could make this music sound any better no matter what you did.

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